Reading a Jill Shalvis book is always fun and easy. Her stories aren't the most original and have the tendency to be 'copy paste repeat' as storylines and character motivations & personalities go, but her writing style is really fun, playful and so fresh. The snark and humor is spot. on. I went into this one intrigued because Adam and his brooding standoffish personality drew me in while reading Dell's story. But this was surprisingly very tame in both the snarky fun banter Shalvis is usually known for and the steam. The steam factor in this was pretty much non-existent and the chemistry came across kind of forced & flat. Shalvis is really good with sexy pexy playful moments & love scenes (like HOT damn), but I found it completely absent in here and I struggled to truly connect with Adam and Holly. I also struggled to connect and buy into the whole back story of these two being teenage sweethearts and Adam leaving Holly behind to join the army when she was eighteen (sound familiar? Ford and Tara anyone?? Been there, done that). Plus I'm not a fan of lovers reunions especially when said lovers were hormonal teenagers and described as having the best sex ever
(really? MAJOR eye roll. Come on. Sorry don't buy it) It just doesn't resonate with me especially when the author goes out of her way to remind us how hot and steamy they were. Just..not my cuppa.
Anywho, the story kicks off with Holly approaching Adam to help her look for her father after not hearing from him for 3 days, she's worried and asks for his help. They go into the woods looking for him and of course old feelings rekindle something. As usual and I've struggled with this in some of her other stories, this was too fast, quick and easy for me. Especially given the context of this story and the characters' history with each other. These two haven't spoken to each other for years--12 years
to be exact--and her moving to another city. Holly holds some big resentment towards him for a few reasons since he left her, so to go from that big distance and being practical strangers to getting all hot and bothered so quickly was a little too contrived for me. Shalvis is usually good with laying on the sexual tension and building it up (if she doesn't rush it), strangely I got none of that with these two. The camping trek to find her father was as exciting and dramatic as watching the weather channel, it was just very underwhelming. Nothing happens except one little romp the first night. A good portion of this story is centered around the 2 day hike in the woods and used as a 'catalyst' for these two to reconnect, yet nothing even happens. Total let down if you ask me.
And Adam's PTSD wasn't fully delved into, it came off in some places as an after thought, something Adam refused to talk about and ashamed to even admit to. Same goes for Holly and her jerk of an ex-husband, it seemed to be used as a plot point to create more angst for her character. All surface and no depth.
I don't know, there was no excitement or spark in this for me personally. If you are a Shalvis fan I'm sure you'll love it, it just didn't rock my boat. I was more interested and really intrigued with Holly's best friend Kate and Holly's brother Grif, than Holly and Adam. A whole lot of interesting story there and adorable potential between Grif and Kate. Happy to see they get a book next! Speaking of adorable, once again the animals in this series are complete scene stealers. I love Adam's dog Milo, I want to snuggle up with him he's so sweet, such a loveable teddy bear. And Peanut the parrot and Gertie the St. Bernard are cute as ever <3